When he last attempted to make the Olympics, Mikey Sinnott was four years younger and admittedly a step quicker. But the 28-year-old Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) skier is confident he can offset aging with accumulated experience and earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team for the first time in his career.
Finishing the 2012/2013 season as the overall U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) SuperTour points leader gives Sinnott the right to compete on the World Cup circuit this winter – a place he has been before (in 2012) and knows can be unforgiving.
“I think in the past you kind of set up your season to get World Cup starts, so you’re kind of hitting that early season performance and then you’re kind of coming down from it when you get to the World Cup,” Sinnott said in a phone interview from his hometown of Sun Valley, Idaho. “This year I’ve got months beforehand where I can build and really organize it so that I’m hitting the World Cup in my top fitness.”
The ball is already rolling toward the November World Cup opener in Kuusamo, Finland. Sinnott recently returned from his second on-snow training camp in Bend, Ore., where he had been since May. With his racing schedule focused solely on World Cups, U.S. nationals and ideally the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Sinnott said the less-compressed calendar would allow him to insert training blocks where travel between race weekends was previously.
“It was really nice to see as we swing back into training how positively my body has responded to the rest,” Sinnott said of his post-season recovery. “I still feel like I have a great base built in, and that’s from the years of training before.”
Past years have included national podiums, Boulder Mountain Tour and Noquemanon ski-marathon titles and international starts at the World Junior Championships, Under-23 World Championships and World Cups. The most recent season was a good one for Sinnott, but he was hesitant to call it his best.
“I don’t really think that I had too much peak fitness last year, but I’d like to think that a couple of times when I felt stronger I would have been fairly competitive [at the international level],” Sinnott said. “There’s just so many variables that it’s hard to say. When I’m skiing well, will that transfer over to the World Cup? What makes me ski well maybe at one race isn’t [necessarily] what’s going to make me ski well at the World Cup.”
Sinnott missed nearly an entire month of training last September due to illness. He thought the Olympics were a realistic goal four years ago, but said he overtrained and as a result, got sick.
“It’s just been a consistent progression and kind of fixing the problems,” Sinnott said. “I’m kind of putting the past seasons all together to make one great season.”
Sinnott will get back on snow in Alaska later in the summer and Canmore, Alberta, before the racing season kicks off. World Cup starts and the Olympics looming have not altered Sinnott’s mindset heading into the new season, but he compared the 24- and 28-year-old versions of himself.
“I think there’s big differences between the two,” Sinnott said. “But I’d say both of them were good athletes – prepared, ready and on the cusp of a potential Olympiad.”
Steven McCarthy discovered a passion for sportswriting in the classrooms of the University of Maine school of journalism. He earned his Bachelor's degree in 2010, while complementing his studies covering two years of UMaine sports and summer college baseball on Cape Cod. He resides in southern Maine and works in a private school for kids with autism. In his spare time he's training for his next marathon (running or skiing) or coaching at a local high school.